Friday, August 22, 2014

Resuming My Roman Ways

On Wednesday Ron & I made our 2nd attempt at C&C ancients. This time we used miniatures and points armies in a Grant Teaser.

The scenario was Broken Ground. I drew defend and Romans. From the available forces I chose 8 Medium infantry units for my legions, 2 light archer units and 3 commanders. The overall commander was once commander of my Armati Romans, the rest were Ron's.

Ron selected an enormous, uncountable horde of warriors, light infantry and light and medium cavalry which might have totaled 17 or 18 units in all under 3 chieftains. The figures were a mix of those painted by Ron and by myself under commission.

Each road exit was worth a VP to whoever controls it.

I posted a small force of 2 infantry and an archer under a Tribune to hold the left road which was
screened by bad going. The rest of the army straddled the center/right line which was close to the line. Ron's line stretched across the table from edge to edge as far as the eye could see with warriors flanked by cavalry and light troops.


Mid-game, with losses even, the lines reform and I remember to haul out my phone for a picture..

The game began an advance by light troops on both flanks. I tried to score hits on his warbands to remove the warrior bonus while he tried to draw me forward and disrupt my line as his warriors started forward on his right.

I had really good cards for doing something other than what I was doing but managed to bring 2 units over to strengthen my left and then a 3rd. Unfortunately I didn't quite get my battleline reformed and my initial volley of pila had limited success. His small group of warriors hit my line like a tidal wave and rolled over it before my men could even draw swords. Luckily I was able to extricate myself and form a new line and between bow and pila broke up his and scored a few hits on some of his units as his cards ran dry. Given a brief respite, I decided that with 4 of my 5 cards being for the other flank, I should try to chase off his light troops if for no other reason than to let me build a better hand. As his lights fell back and I advanced, I kept reminding myself that I would need to look sharp and fallback at the first sign of his remaining warriors advancing. After all, no one wants to be 'that guy' who let the enemy's light troops draw him out of position.

By now the deck had pretty much run out and despite my early losses I was slightly ahead on units destroyed and still controlled both strategic points. As I watched his line roll forward I did a quick calculation and decided I had one turn's grace. Since the start of the game I had held a card giving a combat bonus to units fighting without having moved (in other words in a continuing melee). I had never managed to stay alive and in contact but now I had a cohort in contact with a damaged light: infantry unit and decided to go with the chance of an elimination. He naturally evaded but I still had 6 dice so 2 hits were possible. Briefly I thought "not worth it, should have pulled back my line on the right." But the card was played. I missed. Then Ron laid down a doubletime card, crossed the space and over ran 2 cohorts without pausing to wipe the paint chips from their swords. Shaken but not wounded, the Tribune on that side bolted back to his reserve and deftly moved it back out of harm's way. There were 2 more cards to play but the game was over. I had held on to my edge in victory points, but just barely.

So what did I think after 4 tense hours? Like most decent ancient rules, it manages to get the troops to behave in what feels like an appropriate fashion with that typical scissors/paper/stone feel. At the army level, relating the cards to how things really work is beyond me. Recreating an historical battle would be as much a matter of luck as of intent. However if one believes that generals made very basic plans and then just did their best to manage the chaos  then this represents that well enough.

The main thing was that the game was both exciting and mentally stimulating, in other words, Fun, with the capital F. We will play again.